Cover: Galileo’s Telescope: A European Story, from Harvard University PressCover: Galileo’s Telescope in HARDCOVER

Galileo’s Telescope

A European Story

Add to Cart

Product Details


$35.00 • £28.95 • €31.50

ISBN 9780674736917

Publication Date: 03/23/2015


352 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

8 color illustrations, 25 halftones, 5 maps


Makes available to the general reader one of the most fascinating stories in the history of science.—Mark Archer, The Wall Street Journal

A rich and complex story of how the Galilean telescope emerged from the Dutch spyglass. In Galileo’s Telescope, Massimo Bucciantini, Michele Camerota, and Franco Giudice—three distinguished historians of science who have written extensively on Galileo—retell this famous story in light of considerable new evidence and their own firm grasp of the twists and turns of [its] history. Fundamentally, they remind us that we need to stop looking only at Galileo… Surveying the entire European landscape in the years immediately before and after Galileo’s announcement, this book offers a comprehensive vision of how an entire world, rather than a single if singular individual, gave birth to the telescope.—Paula Findlen, The Los Angeles Review of Books

[A] hugely enjoyable book, by far the most lively and challenging book on Galileo to appear in decades… Everyone who’s ever looked up at the night sky and wondered should read it and re-make the acquaintance of the man who showed us all what we were really looking at.—Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly

Galileo’s Telescope opens the door to a whole society going through deep transformation… The book will be satisfying to anyone wanting a wider cultural perspective on this most unsettling time.—Brian Welter, Catholic News Service

Project[s] a sense of how new ways of seeing, far from merely providing new tools, were—and are—complicated extensions of the way we understand our experience.—Philip Ball, Nature

Galileo’s Telescope is a new account of this turning point in the history of western civilization, and its authors—three Italian history of science professors—give equal weight to the telescope’s scientific, cultural and political impacts. Translated into lucid English by Catherine Bolton, the book is full of entertaining insights and asides… Modern anxieties tend to focus on what science enables us to do, but Galileo’s Telescope reminds us that the truly subversive potential of science lies in what it enables us to imagine.—Marek Kukula, The Spectator

Using letters, paintings and other contemporary documents, Massimo Bucciantini, Michele Camerata and Franco Giudice show, in meticulous detail, that the dissemination of Galileo’s discoveries was by no means linear and straightforward.—Robyn Arianrhod, Times Higher Education

In broad outline, the story of Galileo and the first use of a telescope in astronomy is well known. Bucciantini, Camerota, and Giudice take a new look at this seminal event by focusing on how the news spread across Europe and how it was received. Their well-written narrative examines the central issues using papers, paintings, letters, and other contemporary documents… After four centuries [Galileo’s] reputation has been thoroughly vindicated.—D. E. Hogg, Choice

Over six decades I have read many biographies of Galileo and his discoveries, but never have I encountered a more exciting presentation. Reading about the prompt pushback against Galileo in Florence itself was an eye-opener, to mention a special climax to this brilliantly researched and illustrated account.—Owen Gingerich, Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: Atomic Doctors: Conscience and Complicity at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age, by James L. Nolan, Jr., from Harvard University Press

Remembering Hiroshima

On this day 75 years ago, the United States dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. James L. Nolan Jr.’s grandfather was a doctor who participated in the Manhattan Project, and he writes about him in Atomic Doctors: Conscience and Complicity at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age, an unflinching examination of the moral and professional dilemmas faced by physicians who took part in the project. Below, please find the introduction to Nolan’s book. On the morning of June 17, 1945, Captain James F. Nolan, MD, boarded a plane